NUMBER NINE or The Mind Sweepers by A. P. Herbert

NUMBER NINE or The Mind Sweepers

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A frolic, a la Wodehouse, which is not always rollicking, through the misdirections and misadventures of Civil Service. Placed in 1955, (but no Orwell here) this sets young Viscount Anchor on a personal war, which turns into a holy one, to evict those members of Civil Service who are occupying his family home (failing that to discomfort, or disperse), to raise money for his father to return, and to create enough scandal to further his plans. He impersonates a pal, Bass, as a candidate, goes through the testing; runs afoul of a jaguar of a female, and a love of a gal; and is instrumental in debunking the trick cyclist (psychiatrist) Maple, who blotted the family 'scutcheon when he earlier questioned the Viscount's brother's courage. Strategy founded on deceit -- with a body, not a body but a status, points and counterpoints in the masquerade, and a lampoon against the rigid classification when it is opposed by individual initiative, -- results in a very funny personal court-martial, and bright, rosy sunsets... Of no particular import, but a sometimes diverting farce.

Pub Date: Jan. 24th, 1951
ISBN: 1842326015
Publisher: Doubleday